Bull Run Bluebells

9 04 2009

For many years I’ve been meaning to go see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) en masse at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas about this time of the year. I can now cross that excursion off my list! If you live in Northern Virginia (or thereabouts), there’s an annual Bull Run Bluebell Walk at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 12.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting here, I wanted to avoid the crowds and certainly did. We encountered less than a dozen hikers and photographers on our hike down the Bluebell Trail.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of plants in bloom, though, and a bit hard to work around the plethora of trees, trunks, and fallen branches to get that stellar shot. Many of the landscape-with-Bluebell shots I got were more “record” shots than stellar. Michael found a plastic bag in the car (the ground was still quite damp), and we both hunkered down on the ground to get up close and personal with a few perfect specimens. Our positioning also allowed us to discover other plants in bloom: Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) and Cutleaf Toothwarts (Dentaria laciniata, a member of the Mustard family, Brassicaceae). From a distance, Cutleaf Toothworts, whose beauty belies their nefarious-sounding name, look very similar to the ‘Spring Beauty’ wildflowers.

We also took along the Interfit 5 in 1 collapsible reflector (translucent portion only) to block the mid-day sun and get more saturated color. I’ve used the reflector in the studio and for outdoor portraits, but since I usually follow the rule of “shoot flowers in early a.m. or late p.m.,” I’ve never used it for this purpose. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before—I can now shoot flowers even in the worst light of day for flower photography—that mid-day sun!

While researching where best to photograph fields of Bluebells, I stumbled upon Chris Kayler’s posting about them here. Take a look at his Nature Photography Gallery. Chris, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, specializes in nature and wildlife photography, and lives in Manassas. Spectacular work, Chris!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.




6 responses

9 04 2009

Thanks for the update on the bluebells at Bull Run. I’m hoping to get out there this weekend. I spent part of this afternoon photographing some of the bluebells at McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda. They’ve got several patches — some with daffodils still blooming among the bluebells.

10 04 2009

OK, thanks to you, I have added a new spot on my list of places to see. After college, I developed a love of Civil War history. This is a place I have wanted to visit anyway.
That 105 does a fabulous job but I love how you framed the photo.

10 04 2009

If you and the family ever do make it up to this area, give me a holler! I’d be happy to play tour guide and point out the best places to photograph.

Thanks for the blog comments, by the way. I appreciate any and all!

10 04 2009

My what a gorgeous photo! They are so pretty!

14 04 2009

they almost look with crape paper, how intriguing

5 04 2010

Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area in Nokesville is another great spot to view Virginia Bluebells. This coming Sunday, April 11, there’s a Bluebell Festival sponsored by the VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries, Marine Corps Base Quantico and the Prince William Conservation Alliance. Check PWCAs webpage at http://www.pwconserve.org for more info. Hope to see you there!

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